German researchers have set a new world record for wirelessly transmitted data at a speed of 6GB/s over 37 kilometers. This is ten times faster than any current wireless data transmission and is equivalent to the entire content of a conventional DVD in less than 10 seconds.
Researchers from Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State, the Institute für Hochfrequenztechnik und Elektronik (IHE) from KIT, and Radiometer Physics GmbH used radio transmitters and receivers in the Band E millimetre Wave frequency of 71-76GHz that is usually meant for satellite and terrestrial broadcasting. One radio transmitter was located at the top of a 45-storey Uni-Center building in Cologne while the other was placed on the site of the Space Observation Radar TIRA at the Fraunhofer Institute for Frequency Physics and Radar Technique FHR in Wachtberg.
Currently, it is very hard to transmit significant amounts of data over a long distance due to the weakening of the radio signal as they get away from the transmitter. However, bigger bandwidths are available in the 30GHz to 300GHz frequency bands known as Millimetre waves.
Millimetre waves is usually found between microwave and infrared waves, which at times are known as extremely high frequency. They can only be used over a short distance (few Kilometer) due to high free loss and atmosphere absorption. Research is continuing on this frequency.
If satisfactory results are established in millimetre, the frequency could be crucial to wireless service providers such as mobile operators who are faced with the constant struggle in providing fast internet experience as they are running out of bandwidth due to many internet users at one time.
To transmit in millimetre waves, the German team had to develop fully monolithically integrated millimetre wave circuit to make amplification of the signal much better. On the receivers had low noise amplifiers manufactured from a high-speed transistor with indium gallium arsenide semiconductor that enabled the detection of weak signals over a great distance.
The project team views this technology as a viable alternative to optical fiber broadband, especially in relaying data and fast connection from satellite to rural location. Despite this success, the record is still a way off from optical data transfer record, which is at 1.125 terabits second.
Featured Image Credit: Fraunhofer IAF